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Consumers may view the marketing channel as the collection of the stores they patronizeor the websites they visit. Finally, the researcher observing the marketing channel as it operates in the economicsystem may describe it in terms of its structural dimensions and efficiency of operation.Given these differing perspectives, it is not possible to have a single definition of the marketingchannel. Therefore, the following definitions can be considered for our purpose. Definition by Rolnicki (1998): A marketing channel is the path a product orservice takes as it moves from the manufacturer to its end user or consumer(Rolnicki)Definition by Stern et al (2006): A marketing channel is a set of interdependentorganizations involved in the process of making a product or service available forconsumption or use (Stern)Kotler and Keller (2012): Marketing channelsare sets of interdependentorganizations participating in the process of making a product or service availablefor use or consumption.Pelton, Strutton, and Lumpkin (2002)define marketing channel from exchange orrelationship management perspective as an array of exchange relationships that createcustomer value in the acquisition, consumption, and disposition of products and services.Definition byRosenbloom (2012): Marketing channel is the external contractualorganization that management operates to achieve its distribution objectives. Rosenbloom viewed marketing channel as one of the key marketing decision areas thatmarketing management must address. Therefore, in the definition, four terms should beespecially noted: external, contractual organization, operates, and distribution objectives.The term externalmeans that the marketing channel exists outside the firm.The term contractual organizationrefers to those firms or parties who are involved innegotiatory functions as a product or service moves from the producer to its ultimate user.The third term, operates, suggests involvement by management in the affairs of thechannel. This involvement may range from the initial development of channel structureall the way to day-to-day management of the channel.Finally, distribution objectives, the fourth key term in the definition, means thatmanagement has certain distribution goals in mind. The marketing channel exists as ameans for reaching these.VII.1.2.Terms used for Marketing Intermediaries TermDescriptionMiddlemanAny intermediary between manufacturer and end-user markets.Agent or BrokerAny intermediary with legal authority to act on behalf of the manufacturer.WholesalerAn intermediary who sells to other intermediaries, usually to retailers; usually applies to consumer markets.RetailerAn intermediary who sells directly to consumers.
DistributorAn imprecise term, usually used to describe intermediaries who perform a variety of distribution function, including selling, maintaining inventories, extending credit, and so on; a more common term in industrial markets but may also be used to refer to wholesalers.